Cincinnati is a lot like the weather — everyone complains about it, but nobody does anything about it. Well, friend, Tuesday is your lucky day. Election Day 2002 presents a golden opportunity to dramatically move Cincinnati and Hamilton County forward almost overnight.
All you have to do is vote the CityBeat ticket and select Dr. Jean Siebenaler as county commissioner, vote "yes" on Issues 2 and 7 and vote "no" on Issue 8. Here's what you get in return:
· New and renovated public school facilities in practically every neighborhood in the city of Cincinnati over the next 10 years. Imagine the energy created by construction projects in poor, middle-class and well-off neighborhoods across the city. Imagine the pride of parents across the city sending their kids to brand new schools.
· New transit hubs in 30 area neighborhoods, from the inner city to West Chester, providing improved bus service throughout the region. New light rail lines serving at least 50 area neighborhoods, spurring new development near stations and making the region less dependent on cars. Imagine a transit system like the one in Portland, Ore. that reconnects and reinvigorates a city.
(See Why We Left Cincinnati.)
· A Democrat majority on the county commission for the first time in 40 years, which would boost current Commissioner Todd Portune's efforts to open up county government to greater public scrutiny. The new commission's No. 1 target would certainly be County Prosecutor Mike Allen, whose high-profile missteps and unnecessary secrecy have alienated the African-American community, among others. Imagine a county government — particularly a justice system — responsive to and in partnership with the citizens.
· And the total campaign finance reform package as passed by city voters last year, including contribution limits for individuals, PACs and political parties; better disclosure of donations to candidates; voluntary partial public funding for candidates who agree to spending limits; and a volunteer citizen board to oversee the process. Imagine grassroots candidates winning in next year's city council election because they don't get outspent 7-1 by incumbents. Imagine those grassroots winners becoming council members who are connected to and work for ordinary citizens.
New schools in almost every neighborhood. New transit options in almost every neighborhood. More responsive county government. More representative city government. All with four votes on Tuesday.
There are plenty of important races and issues on this year's ballot: Ohio governor and other statewide offices, Kentucky senator, U.S. Congress, state representatives, Ohio Supreme Court and Hamilton County judges, constitutional amendments. Rarely, however, can you change the future of your city and metro area with four key votes on the same day.
You can't change the weather, but you can change Cincinnati. On Tuesday, vote for Siebenaler, "yes" on 2 and 7 and "no" on 8.